Looking forward into the New Year, it’s tempting to think of New Year’s resolutions and the great big list of Things One Should Do — but I’m not going to do any that stuff this year. Oh, there will be changes made, that’s for sure … but I’m not giving them the looming power of capital-R Resolutions. As non-resolutions, these ideas and reminders will not inspire bitterness or guilt when they are inevitably bent and broken, just a bit, right around the middle of March.
Instead, let’s think of changes brought about for the New Year as Preventive Maintenance. Every body, mind, and soul has things that it needs to keep it working smoothly. Getting back to basics and paying attention to those basics will help keep you runnin’ through next December. Like the old saying goes, it’s the smallest things that mean the most.
Everyone’s list will be different, but I’m writing mine down, mostly for my own benefit — because it’s not really real until it’s down on paper, but also to show y’all that the little things to indeed mean a lot.
Reading stuff. This will keep me from being stupid, and therefore is one of the most important things I’ll do in the coming year(s). I try to make a cursory sweep of news sites and current events blogs and recipe web sites and Tumblrs of pretty vintage pictures, but making time to read books — with thoughts and ideas deliberately thought out and written into paragraphs and chapters — is a necessary part of my day. Every day.
Manicures. I type a lot, and after a long day of sitting at the computer, I kind of feel like I’ve got a pair of shriveled-up T-Rex arms. A good manicure comes with a hand/forearm massage; a really good one comes with a massage that is out of this world! Having someone bend and flex and stretch the muscles and tendons in your hands is my notion of a heaven. Simply heaven. And it’s definitely worth $20 every couple of weeks. Plus, pretty nails!
The Gym. Nope, not for losing weight or toning up, even though those are some pretty fantastic side effects. My gym preventative maintenance routine is purely for cardiovascular health and strength. No goals, no scales, no nothing but just going there two, maybe three times a week and seeing what happens.
Converse lo-tops, the blue ones. These offer no traction, no arch support, and are the only shoes in the world that just become comfy about the time the sole starts falling off. Therefore, these are my favorite shoes of all. Converse lo-tops, the blue ones, keep me comfortable, and grounded. They are the favorite shoes of my youth and keep me mindful. I cannot aimlessly walk through puddles or over sharp objects, I must be alert and aware – it’s a good reminder.
The “No Jerks” rule. John Waters once said, “True success is figuring out your life and career so you never have to be around jerks.” And he is absolutely correct in that. So from here on out, everyone who’s jerkish presence is not necessary is hereby banned; I don’t have the time or mental space to deal with it. Sometimes there are necessary jerks — TSA gropers, busybody relatives, that one barista who seems to hate you for no particular reason — and while those can’t be avoided altogether, I can remind myself that I only have to deal with them for a few moments. They have to live with themselves.
So, there you have it. Small things, easy things, things I’m kinda-sorta doing already. Instead of setting up unrealistic goals and lofty expectations, I’m just going to be mindful of the everyday bits and pieces that keep me going in my best possible way. There are some things I could also add as secondary maintenance items — like small-batch handcrafted gin, frozen waffles, and unrepentant afternoon naptime. It’s all about accepting your needs and making sure that you are meeting them in a healthy way. Or, in the case of the gin, with tonic and a splash of bitters.